Consistent attendance must start at an early age. Chronic absenteeism, which is defined as missing on average two or more days a month totaling 18 days or 126 hours of missed instruction per year, is an important predicator of school performance, including high school graduation.
In fact, education leaders with Attendance Works, which champions student success by reducing chronic absences, report that absenteeism in the first month of school can predict poor attendance throughout the school year.
Poor attendance is often related to a lack of reading proficiency by the end of third grade. By sixth grade, chronic absence becomes a leading indicator that a student will drop out of high school according to researchers. When students improve their attendance rates, they improve their academic prospects and chances for graduating. If a student is chronically absent, by the time he or she is in 12th grade, over a year of instructional time has been lost.
Our teachers and administrators recognize that there are a variety of reasons, excused and unexcused, that can derail a student’s academic performance. Sometimes factors that are outside of the student’s control, such as housing instability or illness, can hinder the child from making it to school. Our educators and social workers try to direct families to solutions or resources to relieve the problem that is contributing to poor attendance.
It is our intention to reduce the number of all lost instructional days. Even late arrival and early departure leads to lost instructional time. Our administrators, teachers, and social workers engage with our families to help them understand how chronic absences negatively affect students’ long-term success in the classroom and in the workplace. We also strive to make the connection between attendance and academic, social and vocational success.
Parents who have concerns regarding their child’s absences should contact the school’s social worker by visiting perryschools.org/for-parents/student-services/social-workers/.
For more information about encouraging student attendance, visit attendanceworks.org.